For all kinds of organizations, a proper identification program is of great importance. It can be used for various purposes such as to improve security, increase the levels of professionalism within the premise and keep identification details clear. While the main reason for an identification program will remain varied from institute to institute, one point remains clear: ID badges, ID cards or name tags are the most important parts of any ID program. While basic identity cards without improvised security options can meet a company’s needs, additional security features offer a different level of security. ID card security options may include magnetic stripe encoding, proximity cards, and smart cards. It is best to understand differences between the options so as to determine which type of encoding can best work for your needs.
Magnetic stripes can also be called swipe cards. As the name indicates, they can be physically swiped through a reader. The reader can then decode the coded data. Use of stripes has been around for ages. It works best for low-security environments. The use of magnetic stripes is commonly applied in:
• Hotel room keys
• Secure access
• Membership cards
• Gift cards
Magnetic stripe encoding is a low-cost means of including more data on an ID card. Using a magnetic encoder, an ID badge maker can encode a lot of data on a magnetic stripe. The stripe is usually found on the card’s back after it is printed. Magnetic stripes are incorporated into cards with minimum additional costs. At times, encoders are added to a printer after its acquisition, depending on the client’s preferred model.
Proximity cards are also known as proxy cards. They are of RFID card type. Their most basic use is granting access to secured areas without requiring the need to insert into a card reader. This contactless approach to upgrading security makes proximity cards useful for:
• Parking areas access control
• Restricted access to secured areas
• General premise access
As the cards are ‘contactless’, the user simply waves the card in front of a decoder, reducing tear and wear on the card and reader. The system’s lifespan is therefore increased. Proximity cards are encoded with unique values that cannot be changed making them ideal for storing data. This ensures that the information on the card remains intact.
Proximity cards are ideal for controlling access to premises with a high volume of traffic or a large number of users. Magnetic stripes offer a low-cost option for convenience based applications or buildings that require low-security standards. It is important to know the differences as the kind of card an organization should use depends on the facility needs.